Coach Joe Carrillo is retired again.
The same man who spent the better part of his coaching career proudly wearing orange and white and working in Alice’s schools resigned and his last day here was Wednesday.
Carrillo was working as the athletic coordinator at William Adams Middle School where he was coaching seventh and eight graders. However, his career in Alice spanned the 1970s and 1980s or what could be called the golden era of Alice Coyote football. He also had a stint here under former coach Van Tom Whatley and finally again under Chris Soza, who Carrillo first coached at Memorial Middle School.
Soza was a young quarterback for Memorial. Two years later when Soza moved up to William Adams, Carrillo was moved up as well. Later when Soza graduated to Alice High School, Carrillo too was promoted to a high school coach.
“You can say he started me off in football,” Soza once said about Carrillo.
It was those same times to the Alice program which brought him out of retirement and back onto the sidelines in 2012. He was retired that spring when he found out Alice High School was in need of a coach with a social studies background in the classroom. Retirement was good. He and his wife spent much of their time visiting their grandchildren, including family in Europe, however, the opportunity to be back in Alice and coaching under Soza was too tempting to pass up.
While in Alice over the last four years, Carrillo spent three seasons as a varsity assistant before moving to WAMS before this school year. After his return to Alice, the Carrillo High-Point Award was created at the Hub City Relays for the highest-scoring boy and girl at the annual track and field meet.
When Soza resigned in early January, Carrillo said he knew he was leaving the district as well.
“I was already retired,” Carrillo said. “Coach Soza asked me for my help (in 2012). That’s why I returned. With him treated the way he was (before he left), totally unfair, and he resigning, my commitment to him came to a conclusion. However, I still had commitments to the powerlifting and the last basketball game. I felt I had to stay until those commitments had been completed.”
Carrillo, a Benavides native who spent a couple of seasons at Corpus Christi Carroll before retiring in 2009, can say "our” when he's talking about Alice because he's been with the program before, several times, including through one of the most successful runs in the history of Coyote football.
Carrillo was an assistant at Alice High School from 1974 to 1983 under head coach L.G. Henderson and later Bob Boyd and Bruce Bush. He was a part of the program when the Coyotes won five district championships through seven seasons. That included the Soza-led 1979 team. which reached the state semiﬁnals.
He also coached in Alice in the late 1980s, including 1985 when the Coyotes won their last district title in 5A and went 12-1, and again at William Adams Middle School unde Whatley. He proudly declares that while overseeing the WAMS athletic program this, he coached the boys who went on to make up Alice's historic 2008 team which beat Calallen, won a district championship and went 12-1.
”Alice is a special program,” Carrillo said when he was rehired here in 2012. ”|t has a lot of tradition. That's what makes it a special place. It's a very special to me. Someone asked me a couple of years ago if Alice was still close to me. I said.’Hey... I still bleed orange.”’
Carrillo’s career also included head coaching jobs at San Diego and later Robstown.